Action Opens Doors to State’s Insurance Agents to Help Consumers Enroll in Exchange Plans
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insurance agents are on track to sell Covered California products, after California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones approved this month the insurance business entity license for the new health benefit exchange.
“Insurance agents, with their knowledge, experience and deep roots in communities across the state, will play a critical role in the success of Covered California’s enrollment goals,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “We appreciate the commissioner’s leadership in paving the way for agents to educate and help consumers sign up for insurance in the state exchange.”
Insurance agents already are required to take classes, get training in ethics and undergo fingerprinting and background checks to become licensed in California. An agent found in violation of state law is subject to criminal investigation, fines and prosecution.
The license approval means more than 12,000 insurance agents who have expressed interest in working with Covered California can begin the annual training and certification process necessary to sell health insurance offered by Covered California.
The commissioner also approved Covered California’s training curriculum and materials for certifying licensed agents to sell health exchange products. After certification, licensed insurance agents can assist consumers enrolling in Covered California’s individual market and small-group employer markets, with coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
Covered California Certified Insurance Agents selling in the exchange’s individual market are required to be appointed by health insurance companies. All Certified Insurance Agents will be eligible to sell in Covered California’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
“Our state’s health insurance agents have been working in this field for generations, and they not only bring their expertise to the table, but they have built trusted relationships with their clients,” Lee said.
About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. With coverage starting in 2014, Covered California will help individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that will be available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget.
Small businesses will be able to purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.
Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. For more information on Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.